Crestmark Invests in Financial Literacy

Troy-Headquartered Crestmark Bank Invests in Financial Literacy Programs for Elementary and High School Students


TROY, MICHIGAN, June 17, 2015 —  Crestmark Bank, headquartered in Troy, and serving businesses nationwide, hosts financial education programs for students as part of its strategic community outreach initiatives. The company’s financial literacy programs for 2015 include participation in the American Banking Association’s (ABA) Teach Children to Save program for elementary school children, and a one-day event for high school students called Life Unplugged.

Crestmark Bank Executive Vice President Marty Blake said, “Crestmark Bank has a responsibility to contribute to the communities in which we live and do business. These employee-driven education events provide students with an important introduction to personal finance, and also contribute to the vibrant corporate culture we are building at Crestmark.”

For elementary school children, Crestmark Bank took the ABA’s Teach Children to Save program to Heritage Elementary School in Highland, Mich., and taught the value of saving to 420 children in kindergarten through third grade. Crestmark Bank employees taught students strategies to support savings goals including the importance of differentiating needs from wants, and the basics of budgeting.

Established by the American Bankers Association in 1997, Teach Children to Save has reached 7.2 million young people through the commitment of 210,000 banker volunteers.

For high school students, Crestmark’s financial education initiative is called Life Unplugged. During the one-day program, students are given an adult persona that includes a career, family, bank accounts and a set income. Then, in their “adult identities” students go to a series of booths each presenting a different real-life financial event, including homeownership, and the purchase of auto and home insurance. As in real life, they face unexpected expenses. Throughout the day, students track income and expenses in personalized check registers.  At the end of the day, students each have a unique perspective on the cost of living, and awareness of the tools and processes for establishing a firm foundation for their personal finances.

Crestmark’s Life Unplugged education program was presented to 360 students at Ferndale University High School and Pontiac High School.

Ferndale University High School teacher Julie Patterson was sold on the program’s practical focus. “This was such a great experience for our students!  The one-day event was packed with life lessons, and it showcased the financial impact of individual choices about career and education, and those related to marriage and children.”

A student participant said of the event, “I got a taste of how my mom feels when she goes to pay the bills.”

Sue Hickey, vice president, assistant portfolio management at Crestmark, championed and organized the program for the company. “This education program is an important focus for Crestmark Bank, and involves the commitment of 60 employees. While we are providing an educational opportunity for students, we reap rewards from interacting with young people. Participating in Life Unplugged adds to the quality of work life for Crestmark employees.”